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Yap Eng Li, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager

Public Mutual Berhad

Yap Eng Li is currently a senior manager, managing equity portfolios, at Public Mutual Bhd, a top private unit trust management company and leading Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) provider in Malaysia. She has worked in London for nearly seven years as an analyst in advisory and investment industry and has close to 10 years of experience in Malaysia’s capital markets.

She graduated with a first-class honours bachelor of science degree economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and has been a member with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) since 2007 and a CFA® charterholder since 2011.

“It is important to try different things and explore all options in life. Ultimately, your true passion and strengths will lead you to your chosen path, be it career or life.”

Yap Eng Li, CFA


What made you enrol in the CFA® Program and what were your first thoughts of it?

I decided to enrol in the CFA Program to enhance my knowledge in investment analysis and portfolio management. My first thought was that it was going to be a long process as it would take at least two to three years to complete the program. However, I knew it would be well worth the effort as earning the CFA® charter would definitely boost one’s finance credentials.


In your experience, how challenging was it to earn the CFA charter?

It was a challenge to juggle work and the CFA Program at the same time, especially during periods when both have tight deadlines to meet concurrently. I would say that the ability to plan my schedule and manage time well was key to ensuring a smoother process in my journey to attaining the CFA charter.


How did you prepare for the exams while managing a full-time position?

I managed to allocate some time during the weekends to prepare for the exams. It all boils down to time management. My employer at the time was also supportive, as I was allowed to take time off a week before the exams.


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What got you interested in fund management?

Before I worked in fund management, I was involved in investment banking, which was when I gained exposure to the investment sphere. During my stint in corporate finance, I was involved in pitching and mergers and acquisitions, and was always working based on clients’ feedback. I then decided to join the fund management industry as I hoped to be able to translate ideas into actions.


How did you get to this position and what would you advise other CFA® charterholders/young professionals who would like to pursue a similar role?

I was originally a chartered accountant before venturing into the world of investments through an investment banking role. I then went on to join an asset management firm in the United Kingdom where I discovered the joys of working in the buy side. When I subsequently returned to Malaysia, I remained focused on undertaking asset management roles.

I would advise other aspiring young professionals to always try out different roles when the opportunity arises. One’s educational or career background should not be a deterrent as long as they have the passion and interest in asset management. To bolster their knowledge on the industry, they can always read finance-related news and study the latest trends in the markets.


What do you enjoy most about your role?

The dynamic nature of the markets, as well as the ability to learn of new developments from the ever-changing economic and market trends driven by socioeconomic factors as well as new technology and innovation.


With regards to professional development, what other qualifications have you obtained? How does the CFA charter differ?

I have also been made a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). In my opinion, the FCA designation and CFA® designation complement each other as the FCA allows me to gain a deeper understanding of accounting and financial models, while the CFA Program helps to sharpen my skills in investment analysis and portfolio management, both of which are essential in the development of my investment career.


What are your outside interests? Do you think it is important to have hobbies?

My favourite pastimes include travelling and playing sports. Travelling allows me to experience different cultures, which provides me with opportunities to view different perspectives in life and allows me to develop an open mind.

When I’m not travelling, I try to remain physically active by playing sports to improve my mental alertness and inculcate a sense of discipline.


What are the key principles that you hold steadfast to today? How did these key principles guide you in your career or life?

Perseverance and having a curious mindset have always been my mottos in life. As the markets are in a constant state of flux with new developments entering the fray, I think having a curious mindset is very important as we should keep striving to learn and challenge the underlying assumptions of most key issues.


Disclaimer: The content was written in July 2021 and the video was taken in April 2021. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.

Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how theirachievements can guide your career path.


Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how their achievements can guide your career path.